Bella Caruso, a character from bestselling suspense author Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid series stops by for a chat today.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Dangerous. I’d been deep undercover with a violent human trafficking organization for nearly a year, searching for a girl sold by her stepfather into the business. I would do anything to find her, take any risk, because no one should have to suffer what I went through.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m resourceful and I never give up. If not me, who?
What do you like least about yourself?
I break the law. Sometimes, people get hurt. What if I make the wrong choice? What if I’m wrong? And sometimes, bad things happen and I can’t stop them. If I did, I’d blow my cover, then everyone would end up dead. Living on the edge makes for some sleepless nights.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
I was surprised when she called in the cavalry. I’d told her I could get out of the situation in the bar on my own, but she didn’t listen to me. And I did get out of it ... unfortunately, bodies had to drop. Not my fault, not my call.
I was also kind of pissed when she shot me. As if I haven’t been through enough?
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I argue with pretty much everyone. Allison and I argue more about the role of law enforcement. Cops can’t do what needs to be done, which is why I quit the force. She still has friends who are cops and federal agents. I get that—we need them. But their hands are tied sometimes. Mine aren’t. Sure, I get it – we need to have the rule of law. But criminals don’t care about the rule of law. I need more flexibility to help people.
What is your greatest fear?
That I’ll get killed and my brother will never know what happened to me. I don’t want him to suffer like that. No one should suffer like that.
What makes you happy?
It’s been a long time since I’ve been happy. I don’t really even know what it is anymore. But knowing the people I turned my back on—people who cared about me when no one else did—forgive me? I guess that made me happy. At least, it made me less sad. There is a certain peace, I suppose, when I go home. Not the home where I was raised, but the island I lived on after my brother rescued me when I was fifteen. I will always consider the island in Puget Sound, and the Dixon’s, my home.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would change the beginning. I wouldn’t have been born to a drug addict. I wouldn’t have had a violent father who sold me into prostitution because I mouthed off to him. Then none of this would have happened ... and I wouldn’t have been forced to go undercover to find Hope Anderson, a girl sold like I had been, a girl trapped in a business that would kill her if I couldn’t find her first.
I guess – well, maybe I wouldn’t change anything, pain or not. Because if I hadn’t lived the life, who else would save these girls? Living in the past is the single greatest path to self-destruction. Believe me, I have enough problems and guilt without layering on even more guilt.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Desiree. Bitch. Nothing else to say.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
Lucy Kincaid. She had a crappy hand dealt to her and she came out of it better and stronger. I admire that.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Allison has written a lot of books. Mine is the best, in my opinion, not because of me—but because it’s real, you know? As real as fiction can be. She doesn’t pull any punches and I’m glad because people need to know the truth about the world I’ve lived in most of my life. Because if people know the truth, they can fight to stop it – just like I do. Her website is allisonbrennan.com and her blog – which she rarely has the time to update, unfortunately – is murdershewrites.com.
What's next for you?
I don’t know. Allison has talked a bit about giving me my own series. She even came up with a couple guys who she wants to hook me up with. Ha! As if I could have a healthy relationship with anyone. I might be too damaged to take lead in anything, a relationship or a series, but I’m thinking about it. Because if not me, who?
Bella Caruso survived a nightmare of abuse and betrayal. Today, she has dedicated her life to saving other young women from the hell that almost killed her—first as an officer of the law, then by stepping outside the law and into the darkness where true evil dwells. Now, it appears that the darkness has taken her once again.
JT Caruso often worries about his sister, given her line of work. This time, when he learns that Bella is working undercover to find a missing girl involved in a dangerous prostitution ring, JT asks FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid for help.
Even with Lucy’s extensive experience in running down human traffickers, finding Bella will not be easy. Not only because she is in too deep. But because Bella, who will not rest until she saves the girl, doesn’t want to be found…